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  • John Bazyk

Granby Residents Since the 1930's

My great grandparents moved to a house in Granby across from Holcomb Farm in the early 1930s. We have, for the most part, been here ever since. My great grandfather worked for the Holcomb family on their farm, as did my grandfather and father. When I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time over there in the woods and did my Eagle Scout project there. My grandfather showed me all of the best fishing spots and where he had built a fort way up on the side of a hill many years before. I have a deep and abiding love for Granby. Just a month after I turned 18, I moved across the country to attend a small college. At the time I had every intention of eventually returning to my childhood home. For a few years, I moved around quite a bit. I lived in 9 different towns and cities. Some were rural, similar to Granby; some were massive like East Cleveland. As soon as I left, my grandparents counseled me to come home at some point. They told me that Granby was the best and safest place in the country. I am inclined to agree.


One could say that Granby isn't the easiest place to live. When flying over Granby, you'll see that there's not too much here. A handful of small stores, a few stoplights, and far more trees than people in town. When our friends and my wife's family visit us, they often comment on how far away we seem to be from everything. There are no street lights on most of the roads. Housing is expensive and the taxes are incredibly high compared to other places I have lived. A few years ago, I was offered a very respectable position at a company I admired with great pay and incredible benefits. When I looked at housing there I would have saved about 80% on my property taxes and could have purchased a larger home for much less than what I paid in Granby. But I couldn't bring myself to leave.


My wife and I have two small children; Liam is 6 and Ellie is almost 4. I love my children more than anything else in this world. They are why I live in Granby. I want them to grow up with the same sense of community that I did.


I spent nearly 14 years in the Granby school system, from preschool at Valley Preschool to Granby Memorial High School. Liam attended two years at Valley Preschool and Ellie is in her first year there now. Their teacher, Mrs. Jackson, lived down the street from one of my best friends in elementary school and she knew me as a young person. I often found myself walking through her yard to the pound behind her house. She was always kind to me and has been a great teacher for my kids.


While I often found myself butting heads with teachers and school administrators over our differences of opinion as a young person, I am friends with many of them now. We have gotten to know each other better over the years. I trust them. Many of the friends I made in kindergarten are still my friends today. Many still live in Granby and several of them are customers of mine. One of my fellow alumni from GMHS is now teaching math in our old high school. I see the effort this friend and my former teachers put into their classes and have tremendous respect for them. I know when it comes time for them to teach my children that I can trust them. As a young person, my politics were very different from my teachers’; they still are today. I am grateful that this will expose my children to different perspectives, exposure to different ideas is good for the mind.


I go to the YMCA almost every morning at 6 a.m. I'm greeted by the kindest women sitting at the desk. She checks me into the gym every day without my i.d. card as she knows my name. I see old friends from school and school teachers and administrators. Alan Addley, our school superintendent, is there almost every morning running on a treadmill. He still knows my name.


There are many wonderful entrepreneurs in Granby. When I sit down at Tiger Belly, Ki'yen greets me with a smile and we chat while I eat at his bar. We're friends on Facebook and we share a love for good food, and posting too many photos of the food we eat and cook. Eliza Florian dominates the ice cream space, not just in Granby but it seems like in the whole area. Who would have thought that her little shop would be so big? My kids love wearing her shirts and love her ice cream. When I walk into Beman Hardware, Joan knows my name; she knows my grandparents, parents, kids, and wife. And, she always seems to know exactly what we need. Growing up I often got pizza from New England Pizza. After moving back home 6 years ago, I got a pizza from them again. It tasted exactly as I remembered it. Somethings never change, and that's okay with me. I’ve watched as our community is eager to support young kids who start small businesses, babysitting, wrapping Christmas presents or selling lemonade and toys on the side of the road.


If you've ever spent any time on Facebook in the Granby Living group, you will see how much local entrepreneurs support each other. It isn't unusual for a local plumber to recommend a local landscaper or for a landscaper to recommend a local paving company or for someone else to recommend a local oil company, propane company or electrical contractor. Even our own business, Command Corporation, is regularly recommended in the group. Granby is, for the most part, on the same team. While there are often differing opinions and discussions that get heated, it's all set aside when we need to come together.


For over 50 years, my grandparents have run a small Amway distributorship in town. As a salesman for our local company, I often find myself speaking with people who have been their customers. It's always funny when people ask me if I'm related to Chet and Wanda Bazyk. We're a community that cares about each other.


Not too long ago, a friend’s house was broken into. Their basement sliding door was smashed and the whole home was turned upside down. Their neighbor across the street noticed the suspicious people around the house and grabbed a photo of their license plate as they fled the scene. It was only a couple of hours later that the Granby PD caught the robbers, who were from another state, with the stuff that was stolen out of our friend’s home. While Granby is not perfect, we all seem to work together to build a great community.


At the end of the day, because of all of this and more, I am willing to pay the price required to live in Granby. Some may not agree with me that the price is worth it, and I would not complain if the cost was lower to live here--how that can be accomplished is another topic for another day--but I think everyone can agree that Granby is a wonderful town, filled with wonderful people. It's beautiful in every way. I sure do love this town.

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